Day trip to Mt Buller

coldsnapcharles

First Runs
May 5, 2021
15
10
3
Howdy all - wanted to ask the ski.com.au brain trust about any previous Mt Buller day trip experiences. Want it to be a fuss free as possible, just want to get a few sneaky runs in. Will probably rent equipment.
  • Any preferred coach services? Is driving that much better? As we are aiming to be as fuss free as possible I was hoping there might be an easy peasy and comfortable option.
  • I can't see any day lift passes on Mt Buller's website - does anyone have any historical pricing? Seems like day passes will be released sometime in May and I'm keeping a keen eye out but again, the itch is already here!
  • I'm bringing my own boots but with regards to rentals (skis and poles) - which store is the most accessible / well-priced / easiest to deal with? The list on Mt Buller's website is long as.
  • Anything else we need to know?
Thanks all in advance - much appreciated.
 

Sweefu

Hard Yards
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May 22, 2019
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Which area are you travelling from?

For me I wouldn't consider anything except driving, but I already live in the outer eastern suburbs and also have a 4x4. Driving is quickest and most convenient, can arrive and leave whenever you like and overall time will be less than a bus with the hills.

Aim to get up the mountain as early as possible, well before 8am to avoid high congestion on good snow days. I usually try get up there by 7-730 then eat breakfast in my car, have a coffee and get set up for the day.

On the way home I recommend stopping for a pizza at Mansfield Pizza, help get you through the drive home!

Another option is to just stay a night and do a weekend, I free camp at Sheepyard Flats during winter, then you get more value for the long drive.
 

Medicine_Shoes

One of Us
Dec 9, 2018
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I would be renting everything in Melbourne. You pick up stuff on the Friday night and drop it back on Sunday and only pay for 1 day. You need to be a bit organised to make the most of a day trip to Buller. Whatever you do don't rent on the mountain unless you like queues.

Definitely drive. Its the quickest and easiest way. Make sure you get chains with your rental equipment in Melbourne.
 
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chriscross

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Hi. The advice above is fine but there are heaps more options.
Have you been to Mt Buller? It gets crazy busy, especially on weekends and school hols. Time your trip carefully. A compromise option I would suggest (and have used) is to drive to Mansfield and use the Park and Ride facility offered by the Alzberg Resort. You can park there (or stay overnight) hire skis/boards etc there (quicker and easier than wasting valuable time on mountain) and catch the bus right to the top. No chains needed. If you drive up yourself, you still have to park and catch another bus or a very long chairlift which takes you to a not especially convenient part of the mountain (if you don't know your way around). Check their website and consider this option. Try to go mid-week and avoid school holidays. My 2C. There are others who go to Buller more often than I and have no doubt, other advice. Good luck, hope you get there and have fun.
 

FixedGrip

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May 31, 2005
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Any preferred coach services? Is driving that much better? As we are aiming to be as fuss free as possible I was hoping there might be an easy peasy and comfortable option

Subjective. I love driving and couldn't fathom doing anything else, but if you'd rather someone else did the heavy lifting, jump on a coach. As a happy medium, consider the Mirimbah 'Park n Ride' option to cut out the hill climb.

I'm bringing my own boots but with regards to rentals (skis and poles) - which store is the most accessible / well-priced / easiest to deal with? The list on Mt Buller's website is long as

Ideally have your gear sorted in Melb before you leave - cut out one job and likely long queues.

Anything else we need to know?

All indications are that the mountain is going to get smashed this season, unsurprisingly. Pre book everything online - entry/parking/lift passes. If you don't already have a BTAG, have one posted out so your ski days can be pre-loaded. If driving, get to Mirimbah very early. Have lunch early to avoid the rush, then ski through. Go midweek if you can.
 
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nezumi

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May 28, 2009
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If I was travelling solo and had easy access to the start of a coach trip, I'd be going the coach route. While I don't mind driving, the last thing I need is to be driving 3 hours home after a full day of riding and a morning of driving. I'd far and away prefer the coach option - BUT:
  • I'd only consider a coach that goes direct to Buller, rather than one that stops in Mansfield.
  • I'd be looking for the earliest arrival time, which does mean an early start.
  • I have my own gear, eliminating the hire issue.
The other factor at play is the cost - fuel, wheel chains and resort entry all add up, which is why the one that I had considered is this: https://www.extragreen.com.au/mt-buller/
 
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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Jul 29, 2015
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Which area are you travelling from?

For me I wouldn't consider anything except driving, but I already live in the outer eastern suburbs and also have a 4x4. Driving is quickest and most convenient, can arrive and leave whenever you like and overall time will be less than a bus with the hills.

Aim to get up the mountain as early as possible, well before 8am to avoid high congestion on good snow days. I usually try get up there by 7-730 then eat breakfast in my car, have a coffee and get set up for the day.

On the way home I recommend stopping for a pizza at Mansfield Pizza, help get you through the drive home!

Another option is to just stay a night and do a weekend, I free camp at Sheepyard Flats during winter, then you get more value for the long drive.

Camping at Carter's road camp site is closer to the toll booth.BYO firewood.

I don't ski at Buller but have done many XC ski trips to Mt.Stirling which is next door. I have done them as day trips from Melb., overnighters camping at Carter's road or Sheepyard Flat or snow camping on the Mtn. using the warmth of the fireplaces inside the huts.
If you drive yourself up for the day then book and print out your tollbooth gate pass in advance at home online. It is cheaper and quicker all round.
 

Sweefu

Hard Yards
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May 22, 2019
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Camping at Carter's road camp site is closer to the toll booth.BYO firewood.

I never have luck at carters mill, always seems to be full or close to it by the time I get there (my planning is good, my time management skills are just awful)

Where do you camp above the snowline? I didn't think there was anywhere nearby accessible by car.
 
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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I never have luck at carters mill, always seems to be full or close to it by the time I get there (my planning is good, my time management skills are just awful)

Where do you camp above the snowline? I didn't think there was anywhere nearby accessible by car.

The snow camping options at Buller/ Stirling are not accessible by vehicle in white season .
You pay to park at Mt. Buller in
ski season . The gate pass at Mirimbah is valid for Mt. Stirling too. . I have visited both in one day using the one gate pass.
TBQH Mt. Buller is not my kind of place.
The car park at TBJ at Mt. Stirling is as far as you can go at Mt. Stirling in a car in ski season. If you can tow a sled with a snow camping pack out to Howqua Gap hut then you can skin up/snow shoe up to Mt. Stirling 's upper slopes or up to Mt. Buller. You will need a good low dump of snow to Nordic ski with a pack or a sled to Howqua Gap hut . It is a distance of 8 kms along the Circuit road from TBJ to Howqua Gap hut. The route is mainly flat so it is very easy Nordic skiing or snow shoe shuffling.
You will need to know how to Nordic ski too and have the skis for it or do it in boots and snow shoes. That route is groomed up to the River spur junction so walking on the corduroy in XC ski season is a big NO NO
and the Mt. Stirling Ski Patrol do Patrol it on a skidoo so you will be caught and sent back to TBJ if found without skis or snow shoes.

Overall this option is not a one day plan , more like 2 nights of snow camping at Howqua Gap hut so it is not all that handy for your purposes.

The OP has suggested Sheepyard Flat. It is 2 WD accessible from the Mt. Buller road. There are squllions of camp sites out there , you can light a fire ( BYO firewood ), there are pit loos, a river for water and picnic tables.
Allow 45 min.s drive from the Mt. Buller road to Sheep yard flat.
You might see a dusting of snow at Timbertop saddle on a really cold day in winter but I have never needed to fit chains coming or going from Sheep yard flat. It can become very muddy and 4 WD users fly around that road so keep to a hard left on the road and drive carefully.
 
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coldsnapcharles

First Runs
May 5, 2021
15
10
3
Just wanted to say thanks for everyone's brill advice. Really appreciated.

Which area are you travelling from?
Travelling from Sydney but flying into Melbourne CBD

f you don't already have a BTAG, have one posted out so your ski days can be pre-loaded.
This is such a good tip! Thanks

Have you been to Mt Buller? It gets crazy busy, especially on weekends and school hols.
No, we never have - it sounds quite intense as expected but anything for an extra snow day. Trying to get a good idea of the planning/organising required ahead of time. Really appreciate your 2C and will look into the park and ride option

don't waste time on the ski day.
Agreed. Too precious.

Overall this option is not a one day plan , more like 2 nights of snow camping at Howqua Gap hut so it is not all that handy for your purposes.
Maybe another time in future. Sounds sick.
 

DbSki

Old n' Crusty
Jun 19, 2012
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Howdy all - wanted to ask the ski.com.au brain trust about any previous Mt Buller day trip experiences. Want it to be a fuss free as possible, just want to get a few sneaky runs in. Will probably rent equipment.
  • Any preferred coach services? Is driving that much better? As we are aiming to be as fuss free as possible I was hoping there might be an easy peasy and comfortable option.
  • I can't see any day lift passes on Mt Buller's website - does anyone have any historical pricing? Seems like day passes will be released sometime in May and I'm keeping a keen eye out but again, the itch is already here!
  • I'm bringing my own boots but with regards to rentals (skis and poles) - which store is the most accessible / well-priced / easiest to deal with? The list on Mt Buller's website is long as.
  • Anything else we need to know?
Thanks all in advance - much appreciated.

Weekend or Midweek ?
 

DbSki

Old n' Crusty
Jun 19, 2012
21,427
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Melb
Avoid Weekends at Buller. The queue at the toll booth is very long and slow.

And after that there is the queue to get on the bus, then the queue to get on lifts all day, then the queue to get lunch / snacks, and then the queue for the bus to get back to the car and then the vehicle queue all the way back down the highway home.

As such, the advice on going up for a day trip varies depending on it being a Weekend or Midweek.
For example, weekend day trips, take your own cut lunch to avoid lining up for food, midweek no lines for food.
Weekend keep your eyes in the back of your head for "Jerrys" on the slopes, midweek not really an issue.
Weekends get there very early, midweek by 8:30 or 9 is fine.
Weekends hire gear off mountain to avoid lines, midweek hire on the mountain , hiring on mountain is preferable in case you have equipment issues you can get them sorted quickly at the place you hired.
And other such issues that differentiate mid week from weekend day trips.
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

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And after that there is the queue to get on the bus, then the queue to get on lifts all day, then the queue to get lunch / snacks, and then the queue for the bus to get back to the car and then the vehicle queue all the way back down the highway home.

As such, the advice on going up for a day trip varies depending on it being a Weekend or Midweek.
For example, weekend day trips, take your own cut lunch to avoid lining up for food, midweek no lines for food.
Weekend keep your eyes in the back of your head for "Jerrys" on the slopes, midweek not really an issue.
Weekends get there very early, midweek by 8:30 or 9 is fine.
Weekends hire gear off mountain to avoid lines, midweek hire on the mountain , hiring on mountain is preferable in case you have equipment issues you can get them sorted quickly at the place you hired.
And other such issues that differentiate mid week from weekend day trips.

Or just take up Nordic skiing and go to Mt. Stirling on a weekday instead. Stanley Bowl has some BC black run terrain if that is your thing or enjoy some easy turns on the intermediate ski trails. It is the opposite of everything @DbSki has described which should be avoided.
 

djam

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Apr 6, 2009
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Weekends are not nice as mid week for sure, but plenty of people manage to enjoy them, if they didn't there wouldn't be so many people here on the weekends. Most people with kids don't have much choice. Skiing/boarding is as much about the social activities, and many catch up when their friends here, and strangely enough, that is often on the weekend.
 

Medicine_Shoes

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Dec 9, 2018
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Weekends are fine at Buller if you know which runs to take. Unfortunately you have to do the hard yards until you discover where these are.

In saying that, I have never had trouble getting a table inside for lunch on a Saturday and that's with a decent size party too.
 
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TOFF

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Weekends are fine at Buller if you know which runs to take. Unfortunately you have to do the hard yards until you discover where these are.

In saying that, I have never had trouble getting a table inside for lunch on a Saturday and that's with a decent size party too.
Local knowledge absolutely invaluable on a busy Buller weekend
 

sdsdc

Hard Yards
May 20, 2010
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Where in Melbourne are you staying? There are some coaches that have various pick-ups in different areas of Melbourne including the Melbourne CBD. There's one that takes you to their resort in Mansfield where you can rent your skis and poles, and then head up the mountain. Day Tours (alzburg.com.au). There is a pickup for it in the Melbourne CBD at 5.45am. The only issue is it doesn't get to the mountain until 10.30am. There's another one that leaves the Melbourne CBD at 6.30am and gets to the mountain at 9.50am. Melbourne CBD & Tullamarine Airport to Mt Buller : 2021 BullerBus Transfers. Some also pick up from Melbourne Airport at Tullamarine.

I always believe driving is the best but would that mean you'd need to rent a car? Because that can get expensive.

I agree I wouldn't rent on mountain as the wait will just be too long. It doesn't seem like there are any places to rent skis and poles in the Melbourne CBD at the moment. There are other places in the suburbs that would be cheaper but I'm not sure if you'd be able to get to those. If you can, try EMC in Deepdene.

I had a look at lift passes and they only have prices for two days at this stage. I assume from that a day pass will be $150-$160. I think in 2019 they were $130-$140.

Hope that helps.
 
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leigh the noob

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Jul 26, 2015
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It doesn't seem like there are any places to rent skis and poles in the Melbourne CBD at the moment.
Auski.com.au do rentals in CBD.

Driving also recommended from me, but you must get there early. I have also used altitudetours.com.au for bus travel.
Take lunch break 11:30 at the latest, then you will be having lunch at peak skiing traffic, and back skiing when it drops off for everyone else having lunch.
 
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